Originally Posted by dsanders06
I mean, I don't think it's JUST a case of her having a mental block against Serena specifically (although I'm sure that's an element of it), I think it's also part of the general pattern over the past 2 years of her wanting something too much. I mean, I don't mean in a perfect world she would NEVER be suffering blowout losses -- for such a relatively "one-dimensional" player as her, it's inevitable that atleast occasionally her A-game would be off and thus she'd have nothing to rely on. It occasionally happened in her pre-surgery career (obviously those beatdowns from Hingis and Davenport stand out as TOTAL outliers in their head-to-heads), and it also happened to Seles, who was as mentally tough as they came but like Maria, didn't have good movement or variety, so when her ballstriking was completely off, she was on the wrong end of some VERY grisly scorelines. So even in a perfect world, some losses of this nature would occur occasionally.
But that should only be happening if her game is off from the start of a tournament. As Chrissiefan has said, it's really not logical for her to be playing so great and winning so easily, only for her game to completely evaporate in the later rounds, as it has done so many times against Serena, Azarenka, and especially Radwanska in that Miami final (it really was so bizarre to see a big-point player like Maria hit gimme returns well wide everytime she held a breakpoint in that match). Tbh, in retrospect part of me is actually amazed she was as calm as she was and played so well in that Roland Garros final.
I mean, this is an issue that can potentially be overcome -- Serena herself really blew some matches in 2008 in particular, where she'd be playing great in the early rounds and then want it so bad in the later rounds that she couldn't get out of her own way...but she eventually overcame it. Murray too managed to learn to relax a bit in big matches after starting work with a sports psychologist (I don't mean all of his big-match losses were because of him choking, because the Big 3 at their best are better, but there were definitely a couple of Slam semifinals against a 'meh' Nadal in 2012 which were Murray's for the taking). I do believe she as such a mentally tough character in general can overcome it, but she needs to be brave enough to step out of her comfort zone and admit she needs 'help', because what she's been trying up til now isn't working and isn't going to start magically working ("insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results").
This! But the problem is Maria is so fucking stubborn. That might also be a reason why she's so mentally tough and probably helps her brush off tough losses but on the other hand so many times she refuses to try something new. Last year during the USO she was asked if she'd try something different when playing Serena because Henin had said that she did that when playing the Williams but Maria was like of course not I'm not changing my game for anyone
and that's another reason I think she doesn't have a B plan. And also she's really proud you can tell from all the comments she's made during her career. I mean the Monica Seles comment was so cool and I laughed so hard
but it's obvious she didn't want to admit the Serena problem, so that's why I think she'd be reluctant to talk to a psychologist because that'd mean admitting even to herself that she has this mental block. It's always really hard to accept something like that especially for such an ambitious and proud person like Maria is.